ERIC Number: ED383441
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Early Childhood Reform: Innovative Approaches to Cultural and Racial Diversity among Families.
Phillips, Carol Brunson
Noting that the cultural and racial make-up of the American family population has changed, this paper characterizes the early childhood community's responses to diversity among families on the basis of position statements, program policies, and innovative local initiatives. The paper argues that to assure equitable treatment of culturally diverse families, early childhood professionals need to move from equalizing access to including cultural diversity within the infrastructure of early childhood programs. Three approaches are suggested to maintain and respect cultural integrity in the delivery of services. The first approach aims at undoing intolerance by focusing on changing the negative responses to cultural diversity. This approach strives to teach explicitly that differences are good and bias against difference is bad. The second approach uses family culture as a bridge in acquiring "mainstream" skills. This approach seeks creative solutions to dilemmas that culturally different parents face who want their children to have early experiences that will prepare them for success in school without having to give up cultural traditions. The third approach fosters development in the home culture and, if parents desire, embraces the bicultural option. Publications, resources, and program models are described that enable and illustrate these teaching approaches. In addition to program curricula that define a culturally sensitive commitment, the paper suggests structural mechanisms to foster improved thinking and practice regarding family diversity: a continuing dialogue between programs and the populations they serve to shape policies and practices, staff programs with personnel who are culturally competent, and partnerships with community-based organizations. (BAC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of Education, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Association of State Boards of Education, Alexandria, VA.